The building of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb was actually undertaken in 1565 by his Persian-born widow, Hamida Banu Begum, nine years after the great man died. She selected the site of the monument, on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the Persian architect who designed it. The monument took seven years to build and shows a strong Persian influence, including it’s gardens divided into four parts by walkways or flowing water. It was the first garden-tomb in India.
The massive mausoleum is constructed of red sandstone interspersed with white marble, while the inner tomb itself is made of marble. The platform of the mausoleum is 7 meters tall, while the height of the building’s impressive marble dome is 47 meters. The lower level of the mausoleum is decorated with arches around its entire perimeter.
From the 17th to the 19th centuries the grounds and gardens were slowly filled with the tombs of Humayun’s descendants, several of whom are buried within the main mausoleum. There are some 150 people buried on these grounds. Humayun himself lies on the lower level and not the tomb most people think, the prominent one located in the central chamber of the mausoleum is a Centotaph.
In 1993 Humayun’s tomb was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since then it has undergone extensive renovation. It looks fresh and beautiful when you visit today – everything except for the thick gray air that burns your eyes and blankets all of Delhi.
Emperor Humayun was grandfather to Shah Jahan who was to built the world famous Taj Mahal. It is well know that Shah Jahan was inspired by and modeled the Taj Mahal (to honor his beloved wife) after Humayun’s tomb.
If you Visit:
Humayun’s tomb is located near Delhi’s metro stations and is easy to get to. Any cab or tuk-tuk driver or guide will know how to get you there.
The entrance fee for citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) is 10 rupees. Others must pay US$5 per person. The entrance for children up to 15 years is free.
Exact hours of the mausoleum’s are a little flexible, although it’s usually open from sunrise to sunset. I’d definitely recommend a visit to Humayun’s Tomb to anyone visiting Delhi — one of my favorite spots in this city.
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